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Mar 06, 2018
In the Texas borderlands, we tread vast landscapes under immense skies. The farther from towns and highways and power lines you go, the larger the land ; the farther you go from city lights and pollution, the broader the sky.
Drive a few miles from any Far West Texas community and you find yourself alone with Nature, and out here, Nature is a wild giant, equally prepared to entertain you or to kill you. I, of course, prefer to be entertained. And nothing entertains me more than rounding a corner onto wild country. The Marfa Highlands, a high desert plateau flanked by Texas mountain ranges sprawl across waving grasslands sparsely dotted with yucca, sunburned prickly pear and languid cattle. It’s beautiful country, and with such broad horizons, it’s hard to imagine its borders drop hundreds of feet into the wilderness home of that giant, where Pinto Canyon sinks beneath Chinati Peak and runs toward the Rio Grande in a breath-taking series of sheer cliffs and rolling mountain meadows.
The land is privately owned. In Texas, we respect that. But so long as you don’t leave the road, you’re not trespassing. The two land rural road narrows to one lane of packed dirt that becomes impassable if it rains. As it winds down to the Rio Grande, the “road” gets a little harrowing. There’s no phone service, and you are very much alone with that wild giant. Have a flat tire, and you’d better be able to fix it yourself.
In this part of the desert southwest, if you break down and start hiking, you very well might die of exposure, or thirst, or snakebite before the next truck happens along to save you. This country takes for granted that those who travel its back roads have survival skills to back up their adventures.
But it’s an artist’s dream landscape. Drive toward the big river late in the day, when sunset splashes a rainbow of color across the borderlands, and you have yourself a painting. Enjoy!
Artists note: I chose a high grade, roughly textured linen canvas for my painting of this rough country. Successive layers of transparent color helped me show the complexity of this wild canyon, and add the glow of that Texas sunset to my large oil painting. Fun to paint…hope you find pleasure looking at it.
SUNSET ON LAND UNTAMED 24" x 36" oil on rough linen © Lindy Cook Severns 2017
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